Funny bone

I don’t know how many different opinions I’ve heard in the last few weeks regarding my foot. Usually the ones I agree with are the ones I remember.


My foot is not better. It is better than it was, but it’s hit a plateau where you can see the horizon for miles and it’s just a mirage where (complete pain-free) reality starts. I’ve had bone scans and x-rays where one or the other alone would have come up with wholly different results. And after practitioners with many years of medical worth poured over my foot photos, I have Freiberg’s disease.

Freiberg’s is a progressive situation. It begins when (unknowingly) you lose blood flow in your metatarsal bone. The bone then loses durability and during activity starts to hairline fracture. The continued activity can lead to the bone becoming malformed and — in my case — you get a square stump trying to fit in a round joint. It would be funnier if it wasn’t painful. It usually happens in adolescence (which is a few generations ago for me), and if you get (as I’ve coined it– “later-onset”) Freiberg’s disease as an adult, you’re almost sure to be female. The 50/50 odds were not in my favour this time.

The surgeon I saw listened carefully to how I described my 9 month history. I felt like he understood my plight and his nodding lead me to trust he was going to give me a positive outcome with a definitive timeline. But he told me that marathons, half-marathons or any longer distance running was out of my future. When I asked if I could cause further damage if I ran in pain, he said that I shouldn’t be running at all. I didn’t hear much after that.


There must be a bone in here …    somewhere!

Naturally I have options, but no one is sure which one will pan out. Surgery is a last resort. I am getting custom orthotics to alleviate pain in my metatarsal arch when I walk. I’m trying different shockwave treatments in the hope that it will help mend my bones a little stronger. Shockwave is much like having a jackhammer at full throttle caress your foot: the hope is that you will find the most painful situation and then endure it. The greater the pain the more likely it is you are treating the weakest area.

I do miss running and want to get back to it. I may never run a 50km race, but I still crave the endorphins, the suffering, the elation of moving forward on only willpower that running brings. My swimming is improving and I’m starting to feel sore and fatigue as though I’m actually doing something, but a swim cap is not a replacement for a running shoe.

Who knew one little bone could be so funny?

9 thoughts on “Funny bone

  1. I’m sorry to hear this, Tania. It’s a very hard process, almost one of grieving, when an injury or problem impacts what you love to do and in some ways, how you define yourself. Swimming sounds like a great option, although I too would not see it as an equal tradeoff. I wish you good spirits as you sort through your emotions and figure out how to move, literally and figuratively, forward.

    • Hi Michelle, Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve waivered so much between being really down to neutral acceptance with each new bit of info I’ve gotten. I don’t have to resign myself to an all-or-nothing approach to this — bodies heal, mend, and change. It’s a process that I’m learning to work with, rather than against.

  2. So sorry to hear it. 😦 Running is a life force for many people, and I imagine it’s very difficult to hear it’s not in your future. But hopefully you’ll find a new fitness activity you can do pain-free, one that will at least bring you satisfaction, even if it doesn’t net the same passion from you.

    • Hi Carrie, Thanks. There is something about the independent singularity of running (running away? running to?) that is hard to replicate. The view from the pool deck is not the same as running along the ocean side. But healing (health!) is priority number one, so right now whatever keeps me moving and active is better than the couch.

  3. You poor thing! I feel your pain. Last week, I was put in a boot for tendinitis, at the young age of 23. Its one of those things that only older women get. As a dancer (and sometimes a runner), it concerns me. I’ll be praying for healing, and for your sanity through this all. Much sympathy, friend.

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